Identifying conflict through body language

Certificate II in Hospitality while at schoolStudying a school-based traineeship in hospitality will teach you how to identify potential conflict situations.

Customers and colleagues consciously communicate their thoughts and feelings by speaking, and unconsciously through body language. Paying attention to body language presents an opportunity for you to address potential conflict before it escalates. Some of the body language signals you might encounter indicating a potential conflict may include:

  • Someone tapping fingers or feet (impatience)
  • A frown or a snarl (anger)
  • Arms crossed (defensive)
  • Poor eye contact (not listening to you)
  • Aggressive action, such as finger pointing or arm waving
  • Shrugging the shoulders (not interested)
  • Shaking of the head, eyes closed (they don’t agree with what you are saying)

While there are many more examples, it is important to remember that body language signals are not universal. In other words, cultural factors may influence the message being sent, so you need to listen to what the other person is saying as well as indicating. Their arms may be crossed because they are cold, they may be pointing at something unrelated to you, and they may be tapping their feet to a tune they can hear.

Undertaking a school-based traineeship in hospitality will help you address potential conflict at work and at school.